Monday, March 21, 2005

Biggest Health Risk For Australian Women Ages 15 To 44 Is Domestic Violence

According to a recently released study, the biggest single health risk factor for Australian women aged 15 to 44 is domestic violence.

The study, by Access Economics and submitted to a conference in Brisbane, says domestic violence is costing Australia more than $8 billion a year. The study says domestic violence is causing high rates of injury, depression, eating disorders, drug abuse, and early death. Access Economics has looked at the incidence of domestic violence between intimate partners in Australia and the flow-on costs of that violence. The study does not include violence against children.

Access Economics' Lynne Pezzullo says researchers were surprised by the health impacts of domestic violence. "If you measured the impacts of domestic violence as a risk factor for other conditions like suicide, femicide, depression, anxiety disorders, cervical cancer as well as other smoking-related illnesses because there is an increased propensity to smoke, you'd actually find that domestic violence is the largest risk factor for health for women aged 15 to 44," she said. Ms Pezzullo says much of the cost of domestic violence is borne by the victims."In fact people who suffer from domestic violence bear about half of the cost of domestic violence," she said. "You look at the costs of prevention activities and preventing domestic violence from happening and intervening early to stop it from continuing, and there's some good arguments for cost effective interventions in those areas."

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